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Since Tri-Solfen® was commercially launched, over 150 million lambs have been treated and over 80% of Australian wool growers are now using Tri-Solfen for their sheep. Here’s what some of them have to say…

‘We have used pain relief for two years now and seen real production gains. We are concerned for the welfare of our animals and will continue to use pain relief to ensure they get the best care.’

Clinton Wise– Wililoo Merino Stud, Woodanilling, W.A.

'It easy to see the difference pain relief makes. Before, lambs would walk away hunched up, even taking a couple of hours to walk back to the paddock. Now they run straight back to Mum and start suckling,” says Rod. “My wool is now sold under the Better Choices brand. I see this as a definite advantage. I think it will be an advantage in the long run, to both me and the industry as a whole.'

Rod Miller– Glenpaen Merino Stud, Horsham, Vic

'After being treated with pain relief my lambs were more content and less stressed. As farmers we are sincere in looking after the welfare of our animals and using pain relief demonstrates this.'

Richard Coole– Frankland, W.A.

'We have been using pain relief for the past three years. We’re impressed by reduced bleeding in the mulesing wound immediately after application. Lambs run straight back to find the ewe, which has dramatically reduced our mortality rates. Flock management, post lamb marking is easier due to the effect of pain relief and the scab healing faster.'

Ryan & Malcom O’Dea– Peepingee Merino Stud, Narrogin, W.A.

'Using pain relief eases the stress and allows lambs to mother up and move back to the paddock easier with faster weight gains.'

Kent Lummis– Waverley Downs, Gilgandra, NSW


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EU Pig, Sheep,
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Advisory Board

Ian Page

Non-Executive Director

Ian is Chief Executive Officer of Dechra Pharmaceuticals, which has a 33% shareholder in Medical Ethics. He joined National Veterinary Services, Dechra’s former services business in 1989 and joined the Board of Dechra in 1997. In October 2010, Ian was appointed as Non-Executive Chairman of Sanford DeLand Asset Management.

Dr Chris Roberts

Human Wound and Regulatory Advisor

Chris has over 20 years’ line management experience of heading clinical research teams. He was previously global head of Smith & Nephew clinical support and market development, where he managed global clinical Phase II and III programmes in the management of venous and pressure ulcers.

Lieutenant Colonel Professor Steven Jeffery

Medical Specialist Advisor

Steve has over 15 years’ experience in military plastic surgery. In 2011 he was awarded the Military Civilian Partnership Award for ‘Regular of the Year’, as well as receiving the Wounds UK ‘Key Contribution’ award and the Smith and Nephew ‘Customer Pioneer of the Year’ award. He has also been awarded Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of England ad eundum. He is an expert adviser to NICE Medical Technologies Evaluation Programme. Steve co-founded the Woundcare 4 Heroes charity, which is already making a big difference to the wound care of both serving and veteran personnel.

Dr Matthew Bayfield

Medical Specialist Scientific Director

Dr Matthew Bayfield, Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Strathfield Private Hospital and VMO Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

Professor Peter Windsor

Veterinarian Research Advisor

Peter is a registered specialist veterinary surgeon in New South Wales and an emeritus Professor at Sydney University. He holds a BVSc (Hons), PhD, DVSc and diploma from the European College of Small Ruminant Health Management.

Dr Julian Braidwood

Global Regulatory Affairs Advisor

Julian has held leadership roles and managed international clinical projects with Grampian. He was previously Regulatory Affairs Manager at Novartis Animal Health. He is the Founder and Managing Director of Triveritas, where he is responsible for a team of 40 animal health specialists across the EU and the US.


Mulesing pain relief now well in place – so now for the next steps in pain management for sheep

September 28, 2017

Emeritus Professor Peter Windsor, University of Sydney, spoke on progress in pain management in sheep and other livestock at the PanPacific Veterinary Conference in Brisbane in May. Windsor and his team have extensively researched the efficacy of pain relieving drugs in livestock and willingly challenges a few myths about the way animals feel pain.

“The availability of Tri-Solfen has been a ‘game changer’ for the sheep industry,” Windsor said.

“It empowers sheep graziers to take ownership of the welfare of their sheep when they are setting them up for a life-time that is largely free of one of our most serious of pests, Lucilia cuprina, the sheep blowfly. The provision of pain relief by farmers for mulesing is an Australian innovation that deserves worldwide recognition.”

While there are other pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory drugs that have a potential role to play in the livestock industries in the future, current interest remains with initially blocking the pain pathways by topical anaesthesia, as occurs in Tri-Solfen.

“Since Tri-Solfen was released onto the market, over 40 million lambs have been treated with it for mulesing. It has been very successfully adopted, with farmers using it because it is a better welfare outcome for their sheep.

“There are still consultants out there who seem to think it’s a waste of money, but I would argue the point. Take a wool sheep, for example, that might produce a fleece each year for five or six or more years. The cost of using Tri-Solfen on that lamb at mulesing is about 60c.

“It’s a one-off cost and over the sheep’s productive life, that works out at about ten cents a year. It really is a minor cost in the productive life of the sheep but an important investment as it enables mulesing to be done in an a welfare sensitive manner.”

Going beyond mulesing

Producers clearly agree, given the adoption of Tri-Solfen. Windsor believes that TriSolfen may have broader application to pain management in sheep in the future, but at this stage in Australia it is only registered for use at mulesing.

The fact remains that it is an easilyadministered and very effective topical wound treatment providing wound anaesthesia and improved healing. Windsor and colleagues have conducted approved trials investigating its efficacy during surgical castration.

“We administered Tri-Solfen topically during castration,” Windsor said. “We make a small incision in the scrotum, then immediately spray on the Tri-Solfen as the testicles were removed. The pain relief is instant.

“We believe this is a better approach than administering the drug via a needle before making the incision, as the injection itself causes as much distress as the cut and the pain relief from the spray is quicker.

“This use of Tri-Solfen is not yet approved by APVMA but Animal Ethics, the manufacturers of it tell me they are working as quickly as they can to get the approvals and label changes.”

Allan Giffard, managing director of Animal Ethics Pty Ltd, the company that developed Tri-Solfen, concurs that they are indeed working to broaden the product’s registration in Australia.

“At present in Australia Tri-Solfen is only registered for use at mulesing,” Giffard said. “We are working with the authorities to broaden that registration to include other pain relief applications in livestock industries.

“It’s hard to put a time on exactly when that process will be completed, but we hope it will be within 12 months. We are getting tremendous support from the APVMA and the livestock industry.

“We are also in the process of obtaining registrations for Tri-Solfen to be used as an over-the-counter product in New Zealand, North America and Europe.

“At this stage there is no over-the-counter pain relieving drug available to livestock producers in any of those regions. We have now been granted patents in Canada and the US, so that opens the door for us to proceed with registration and market development.

“The patenting of Tri-Solfen is timely in these international farming markets, as animal welfare is now a focus of governments, consumers, producers, processors and retail chains. Increasing numbers of consumers need assurance that their food and fibre is produced humanely and without cruelty,” Giffard said.


Two Merino lambs after mulesing. One lamb is displaying minimal pain (below) due to treatment with Tri-Solfen, compared with an untreated lamb (above), with a hunched posture, displaying pain from the mulesing procedure. Photography Peter Windsor.


Considering animal welfare

Windsor considers pain management to be the ‘low hanging fruit’ of animal welfare issues, and is hopeful that the broad adoption of Tri-Solfen at mulesing will expand into broader use of pain relief during other standard procedures, once appropriate research has been completed and label recommendations made.

“It is feasible that we will in the future be able to apply local pain relief like this to a whole range of pain-inducing procedures in livestock, such as ear tagging, castration, tail docking, and also cuts and abrasions at shearing.

“I think it is important that the sheep industry is proactive in seeking to find ways of alleviating pain caused to animals during management procedures. We have an ethical responsibility to do that, and I think increasingly, most producers agree,” Windsor said.

“We have to be proactive not reactive on animal welfare issues. We have to learn from the mulesing incident and try and prevent other animal welfare crises.

“Widespread adoption of pain relief during routine husbandry will demonstrate to both our international customers and the animal activist lobby, that ‘best practice’ animal welfare is becoming a priority on Australian farms.”

There are also indications that animals that feel less pain during early handling are easier to handle later in life, but very little research has been conducted in this area and reports to date are anecdotal.

“There are anecdotal reports that animals show less fear when re-mustered when they have been given pain relief for aversive procedures, but our research focus to date has been on what is happening with animals during and within a few days following the procedure,” Windsor said.


Professor Peter Windsor, University of Sydney
0438 983 367

Allan Giffard, Animal Ethics
0419 362 283